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Last updated: 21.08.17

How to ensure your workplace is cyber secure

The security of our data is becoming increasingly difficult to protect, however there are many ways businesses can play a part in preventing a data breach. Here we take a look.

Businesses across the UK and around the world have sensitive information that they must keep confidential, whether this be to protect their clients or in relation to the company’s finances. However, as the amount of information businesses keep grows, and as the digital world becomes more advanced, keeping data secure is becoming all the more difficult.

When it comes to the new financial year, or when it’s time for businesses to pay their taxes, cyber criminals are most likely to act. Often, in the rush to meet deadlines and avoid the ire of the taxman, consumers become vulnerable to scams and identity theft.

Although preventing a system from being hacked is very difficult - hackers are advancing all the time to ensure they’re one step ahead of us - there are ways business can lower the risk of data being stolen. Here we take a look.

Keep passwords strong

While simple and generic passwords are easy to remember and for the company to use, they can be a target for hackers. To avoid this, make sure your passwords are at least eight characters long. These must be random alphanumeric characters, both upper and lower case, with digits and punctuation marks.

Often, password managers such as Keeper Security will generate secure passwords for you to store them safely. You should also be aware of fake websites intimidating authentic portals. To avoid this always ensure the website URL includes “https” as it will mean it is secure. If they aren’t at the start of the address, then the connection isn’t secure.

Make sure protective software is updated

While having decent protective software is the first step in preventing hackers from gaining important information, it is crucial that you keep your malware and firewall protection up to date. This should be done before opening any sensitive documents or connecting to a tax-preparation service.

Avoid using public Wi-Fi

It’s best to avoid using public Wi-Fi services when making financial transactions or when working with financial information, as lower security causes risk. The majority of of public Wi-Fi connections are unencrypted, so anyone operating around the network can harvest any information that is transmitted over it.

Although using a coffee shop to work while you’re at meeting or on the go may be handy, it’s not worth risking the security of your company.

Be aware of phishing scams

During the tax period, cyber criminals are aware of consumer anxiety about the potential for audits or fines, and therefore use this to their advantage. Make sure you don’t fall for any phishing scams that will try and pull you in by using alarming language or threats that are supposed to scare you into giving personal or sensitive information.

Remember, any email that appears to be from the (Internal Revenue Service) IRS but asks you for personal information will be a scam. It’s not even worth opening emails that you’re unsure of, unless you definitely know the identity of the sender.

Back up all information

According to IRS, ransomware was the fastest growing form of malware in 2016, and there are no signs to show that this is slowing. Often, ransomware encrypts all the data from your hard drive and demands a ransom payment to return it.

The only way to avoid this, is to ensure you have all your information backed up. You can do this by storing all your sensitive financial documents on a USB drive or online cloud service. You can also protect any sensitive data on your local storage media by saving it in an encrypted folder.


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